This past Mother’s Day, a couple of my friends and I drove around town delivering bouquets of flowers to some of our more seasoned mothers in our faith community. 

Earlier that morning, I willingly waited in line for over an hour for the chance to pick out the most beautiful bouquets from my favorite florist at the Farmer’s Market. These bouquets are always stunning, vibrant in color and command your attention; making them the perfect gift for special friends we adore so much! 

About an hour into our deliveries and after a handful of drop-offs, we noticed that our beautiful flowers were starting to wither. I’ll be the first to tell you, I’m not good with flowers. But even my friends didn’t think that these flowers being out of water for an hour would be so detrimental for them. 

We quickly put some water into the vases, but it was a little too late. Nothing we could do could make these flowers look as beautiful as they once were. By the time we reached our final stop, we considered tossing the pitiful bouquet of flowers we had in our hands and plucking a few beautiful roses from the rose bush belonging to our friend. 

As we handed her the now withered bouquet, we awkwardly laughed and reassured her many times over that these flowers were once breathtaking. We even had pictures to prove it.

These flowers were made to flourish. However, in transition and in the waiting, these flowers went without something so essential for their flourishing. 

I began to think about our lives and how we were meant to flourish too! 

And just like those flowers, there are things we need to sustain our growth and our flourishing, especially in the waiting. 

When we find ourselves in the middle of where we used to be and where we are going, we will be tempted to overlook and move away from practices that are essential for our flourishing. And going without them can cause us to wither.

This isn’t a physical withering, but a spiritual withering, one that looks like endless working, worry, anxiety, being fearful, short-tempered and feeling discontentment. 

So what is as essential to our spiritual flourishing as water is to flowers? 

Abiding in Jesus. 

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” (John 15:4-6, ESV)

Abiding in Jesus has a way of quieting our anxious hearts. Ridding our minds of fear and doubt, he calms our restlessness and breathes confidence and assurance over us. 

After we got home from a long day of bouquet deliveries, I got a text from the same friend with a picture of vibrant flowers that looked a lot like the ones we started our day with. Her text read, “All they needed was a little more time in water and a splash of sugar to get them looking as beautiful as they were meant to be!” Hours ago, they were withered and, in my opinion, deserved to be thrown away, yet here they were flourishing again. 

The same is true for us my friend. No matter how many times we are tempted to do things our way, time with Jesus will cause our withered pedals to flourish again. When we choose to abide in Jesus instead of striving in our own strength, we will exchange our worry for His peace, discontentment for contentment and obligation of endless working for His rest.

Time with Jesus will give our withered spirits new life and we will flourish. 

Abiding means we are considering the Lord in our daily plans, our responsibilities, and the commitments we say yes to. It means being still before the Lord and asking him what he thinks about or to-do list. When we seek him, he will show us what he is asking from us, where we should place our efforts, and how we should spend our time. Time with him reminds us that we aren’t meant to do it all or do it perfectly; but in our weakness, we are made strong. 

He will reveal to you what to release and relinquish, and encourage you where you feel most defeated. As you respond to His leading, you will experience His grace. His grace gives you the power to do all that’s in your hands and wait with expectation for all that He has promised you.

You will begin to walk in greater joy, knowing that what he placed in your hands matters to him. No more striving because you understand your flourishing comes from abiding in Jesus every day. 

For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit.  (Jeremiah 17:8) 

Sarah Johnson
Sarah Johnson

Sarah Johnson has been inspiring women to live their truth and follow the call of God for over seventeen years. She is the author of her book, Now Waiting, the host of her podcast, InfluenceHER, and blogs at sarahjohnson.co. Sarah juggles motherhood and ministry with grace, and while her life is filled to the brim, she wouldn’t have it any other way. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, BJ, and their children.

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